World Cup dream for twelve nations

Afghanistan will be one of 12 nations dreaming of a place in the 2011 World Cup when the World Cricket League Division Five begins in Jersey later this month.
Germany, Mozambique, Nepal, Norway, USA, Vanuatu, Botswana, Japan, Jersey, Bahamas and Singapore are the 11 other teams who will take part in the event from May 23-31, with the possibility of a World Cup place at the end of the road.

Realistically the chances of any of them making it to the subcontinent in 2011 are very slim. They would have to progress through all the WCL Divisions and compete against strong Associate nations such as Kenya, Ireland and Scotland, but it provides a chance for these smaller cricket nations to develop.

"This gives every side a clear pathway for progression and the chance to compete at the very highest level," the ICC global development manager Matthew Kennedy said. "So even though a team might be competing in the WCL Division Five tournament this month, there is the chance it could make it all the way to the next World Cup.

"More realistically, though, it gives those teams a structure and a long-term goal to aim at so that even if they don't get there this time, they could target 2015, 2019 or 2023.

"On another level, WCL Division Five also gives these sides the opportunity to play against similarly ranked sides from around the world in conditions that perhaps they are not used to. It is very much part of the development process to give players the chance to perform outside their home environment."

This tournament also marks the return of USA to ICC events, more than a year after they were suspended from international cricket. The finalists will be promoted to the World Cricket League Division Four and join Hong Kong, Fiji, Tanzania and Italy in a six-team event that will take place in the Tanzanian capital Dar Es Salaam from October 4 to 11.

The opening day of Division Five on 23 May will see the USA take on Mozambique in Group A at the picturesque Farmer's Field ground. In the same group Nepal play Germany at Les Quennevais and Norway face Vanuatu at FB Fields. In Group B Afghanistan begin their campaign underway with a match against Japan at Victoria College.

Meanwhile, hosts Jersey play Singapore at Grainville and the Bahamas will line up against Botswana on the second pitch at Les Quennevais.

Group A Germany, Mozambique, Nepal, Norway, USA, Vanuatu
Group B Afghanistan, Botswana, Japan, Jersey, Bahamas, Singapore